Farben-mixing it up, an introduction

Kids need sturdy clothes, and hopefully ones that grow gracefully so the child can wear them long enough to wear them out (in the case of the blazer I made my son last summer, Nels continues to wear it despite growing five inches in a year; it is now comically too-short).  When my kids were wee their clothing needs were less intense; gone are the days of babies and toddlers who mostly don’t get up to too much rough play.

I mentioned late last month I’d purchased a book with children’s sewing patterns: Sewing Clothes Kids Love: Sewing Patterns and Instructions for Boys’ and Girls’ Outfits (published by Creative Publishing International). The book’s patterns and scope are such that I’ve been inspired to complete all the garments therein and write about it here.  I hope all my readers – stitchers and non-sewists alike – find my travels interesting.

A few questions answered:

Why Sewing Clothes Kids Love?

The book Sewing Clothes Kids Love (hereafter called “the Farbenmix book”) has a good scope.  In the ten patterns of the book we see practical kidwear that can be constructed according to the age, preferences, and tastes of each child.  There are ten patterns in size ranges Euro 86 cm to 152 cm (roughly 2T to size 14).  The patterns are not complex in and of themselves and favor loose and comfortable fits, pull-on waists, and elastic or tie features to accommodate a growing and active child.

In addition, the Farbenmix book showcases a high attention to detail and embellishments, the kind of things most children love. It provides a few guidelines for making sure to create something your kid will like and select from the closet over and over again.  As those who sew for others know, you have to create something the individual loves, or he/she simply won’t wear it.  I’m pretty good at knowing what friends and family like. The ideas and pictures in the Farbenmix book provide additional influences and inspiration for which I am ready and grateful to use.

It is not a perfect book; most of the patterns are styled with distinctly feminine embellishments and pattern lines, leaving creative boy-styled garments in the lurch.  However, the focus on garments that play and grow with the child and express children’s unique sensibilities make it a project full of Win for me.

Is this project expensive?

Not really.  Home-sewing can be as cheap or as pricey as you make it.  In addition, home sewing stands for lots of wear.  I have never purchased clothes that last as long as the ones I sew – yes, even on my kids who regularly climb trees, play War and kickball, and rough-house like no one’s business.  Homesewn items can have a life beyond those you purchase; yesterday my daughter went to a dance in a dress I made – which had doubled as her Halloween costume last year – and her friend attended the same event in Sophie’s dress form the year before.

Is sewing a money-saving venture?  I leave that for others to bicker about.  I will say: homesewing takes time, but it’s time I’m thrilled to spend.

Is this project appropriate for beginners?

Well, yes and no.  Familiarity with sewing, tracing patterns, adding seam allowances, and fitting children will be a big help – all of which I have in spades.  However, a beginner might find themselves intimidated by the many new concepts they have to wrangle at once.  If you’d like to tackle the book and would like assistance, please don’t hesitate to email me at kelly AT hogaboom DOT org or call me at (360)532-9453.

Why sew for kids?

Ready for me to get pop-culture specific?  Well here goes anyway.  The current craft and homesewing scene is glutted with pornographically cute and often trivial craft projects.  These books and sites often contain photographs of adorable (usually white) children doing cute, non-kidlike and non-messy things on sun-washed oak floors; concomitant to this we have the craftster culture of shoddy and fast results meant to clad the (usually thin, young, and white) urban hipster and her closetful of eclectic fare.  At the other end, a few monolithic sites showcase rather dressy enterprises for adults’ formal or dressy garments, highlighting tailored techniques.

These markets are being served just fine, and all of these projects have their individual merit.  I am all for a newbie sewer having luck embellishing tea towels, then going on to try something more ambitious. In addition, tailor-made details are some I thrive on when it’s appropriate to employ them.

Yet my life is one of caring for a family with young children and a houseful of pets – and one income.  I can’t afford too many expensive fabrics while keeping up with my kids’ demand.  The Farbenmix book is a perfect avenue to continue sewing expressive, strong, beautiful clothing for people who work and play hard.

If this sounds like something you’d like to do, I’d love to help you.

So let’s get started!

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